Written by Jean-François Dupré. Hong Kong’s extradition bill and the mass protests it triggered have garnered much international attention. Presumably motivated by a dual attempt to infringe on Taiwan’s sovereignty and to increase Beijing’s grip over Hong Kong, the extradition debacle exposed in quite unambiguous terms the Hong Kong government’s incompetence and intractable pandering to Beijing.
Written by Walter C. Clemens, Jr. Hong Kongers have earned the right to genuine self-rule. This essay suggests how this could happen within the framework of “One Country, Two Systems.” But Hong Kongers’ demands for freedom go against the tide of repression—not just in Russia, Turkey, and India but especially in China. Claiming that he will restore China’s former glory, President Xi Jinping is becoming the country’s most supreme bully since Mao Zedong.
Written by J. Michael Cole. Liberal democratic societies are simply incompatible with the increasingly authoritarian mindset that animates the CCP. The notion that their inhabitants — global, connected and proud of their liberties — would willingly cede their freedoms to Beijing is naive at best. Such illusions are being shattered in Hong Kong as we speak, and the idea that the Taiwanese would be any less committed to preserving their hard-earned democracy is preposterous. It says a lot about the CCP’s appeal that the only way it can quiet down discontent on its peripheries is through pacification.
Written by J. Michael Cole. Rather than isolate Taiwan and Hong Kong, Beijing’s unwillingness to accommodate different political systems on its peripheries and its inability to do “soft power” effectively has had the opposite effect: more than ever, Taiwan and Hong Kong are joining hands in their opposition to the CCP.
Written by Robert S. Wang. As I see it, the United States and EU governments need to respond urgently and strongly at this time if they are to show that they truly intend to defend the values of the liberal international order. They should start by working with human rights NGOs to document and publicise even more widely China’s gross human rights violations. The aim here is to raise public awareness and highlight deteriorating human rights conditions under China’s increasingly repressive authoritarian regime for the world, including Chinese people at home and abroad, to see.
Written by Brian Hoie. Caution seems necessary for Taiwanese traveling to China going forward, then. There are at least three cases of Taiwanese held in China—if not more—on charges of endangering the state security of the Chinese government. At this point, whether pro-independence or pro-unification, it seems that simply being Taiwanese could possibly be sufficient cause for arbitrary detention by the Chinese government.
Written by R. D. Cheng. On March 31, People’s Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) warplanes flew across the “median line” in the Taiwan Strait that has long served as an unofficial airspace boundary between Taiwan and China. This behaviour was unusual and provocative move on China’s part — the first time in 20 years that such a deliberate incursion took place.
Written by Po-hsi Chen. Guo’s concern resembled the philosophical rendition of the post-war Czechoslovakian ‘socialism with a human face’, which emphasised individual freedom and personal choice under the Soviet regime. Indeed, Guo passingly referred to ‘Second World’ Eastern European communist theorists’ re-reading of Sartre in the post-Stalin context.
Written by Yu-Cheng Shih. The fishing and sailing communities during the Cold War is a long-neglected subject in current Cold War scholarship. For fishers and sailors whose livelihood requires frequent border-crossing, legal documentation became necessary, lest they be arrested as undocumented immigrants or smugglers. In other words, the new Cold War border illegalised a considerable part of these people’s livelihoods.
Written by Chai Boon Kheng. A popular contention among Chinese nationals and diaspora is that the “Taiwan question” began with the establishment of separate governance across the Taiwan Strait as a result of Second Chinese Civil War. However, Taiwan must be considered in the context of diplomatic history beginning after the cessation of hostilities between the Allied Powers and Japan.
Written by Ben Goren. On Wednesday 31st July, China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism announced that it would stop issuing individual travel permits to residents in 47 Chinese cities. The announcement was a single sentence issued by the Ministry stating such trips would be suspended “due to current cross-Strait relations” and did not further elaborate. This lack of detail created space for speculation in media commentary on the change in policy. Searching for “China ban solo tourists Taiwan”, I found 21 English language media reports issued within a week of the policy announcement from outlets regarded as ‘international’ or those with a globally recognised brand.
Written by David O’Brien. One of the odder cross-Strait news stories this month was the case of the Shandong man surnamed Chang who was spotted emerging from the sea onto a beach of Taiwan’s Lesser Kinmen Island with three child’s inflatable swimming rings, a big bag of chillies and 1,381 RMB.